Noam Chomsky's Venezuela Lesson

Venezuela descends into chaos as Chomsky says he's right about Hugo Chavez's sharp poverty reduction.


Venezuela descends into chaos. Its people, once the wealthiest in Latin America, starve. Even The New York Times runs headlines like "Dying Infants and No Medicine."

My Venezuelan-born friend Kenny says his relatives are speaking differently. Cousins who once answered "Fine" or "Good" when asked, "How are you?" now say, "We're eating."

Eating is a big deal in the country that's given birth to jokes about a "Venezuelan diet." A survey by three universities found 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average 19 pounds this year.

So are American celebrities who championed Venezuela's "people's revolution" embarrassed? Will they admit they were wrong?

"No," says linguist and political writer Noam Chomsky. "I was right."


Actor Sean Penn met with Hugo Chavez several times and claimed Chavez did "incredible things for the 80 percent of the people that are very poor."

Oliver Stone made a film that fawned over Chavez and Latin American socialism. Chavez joined Stone in Venice for the film's premiere.

Michael Moore praised Chavez for eliminating "75 percent of extreme poverty."

Hello?! In Venezuela, Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, created extreme poverty.

Chomsky, whose anti-capitalist teachings have inspired millions of American college students, praised Chavez's "sharp poverty reduction, probably the greatest in the Americas." Chavez returned the compliment by holding up Chomsky's book during a speech at the U.N., making it a best-seller.

Is Chomsky embarrassed by that today? "No," he wrote me. He praised Chavez "in 2006. Here's the situation as of two years later." He linked to a 2008 article by a writer of Oliver Stone's movie who said, "Venezuela has seen a remarkable reduction in poverty."

I asked him, "Should you now say to the students who've learned from you, 'Socialism, in practice, often wrecks people's lives'?"

Chomsky replied, "I never described Chavez's state capitalist government as 'socialist' or even hinted at such an absurdity. It was quite remote from socialism. Private capitalism remained … Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital."

What? Capitalists "undermine the economy" by fleeing?

I showed Chomsky's email to Marian Tupy, editor of I like his response: "If lack of private capitalism—I assume he means total abolition of private enterprise and most private property—is his definition of socialism, then only North Korea and Kampuchea qualify."

Tupy also asks how Chomsky thinks "capitalists sabotaged the economy by taking money out if capitalists are superfluous to a functioning economy."

Good questions. Chomsky's arguments are absurd.

As Tupy wrote elsewhere about another socialist fool, "As much as I would like to enjoy rubbing [his] nose in his own mind-bending stupidity, I cannot rejoice, for I know that Venezuela's descent into chaos—hyperinflation, empty shops, out-of-control violence and the collapse of basic public services—will not be the last time we hear of a collapsing socialist economy. More countries will refuse to learn from history and give socialism 'a go.' 'Useful idiots,' to use Lenin's words … will sing socialism's praises until the last light goes out."

I fear he's right. This love for state planning is especially outrageous today because anyone who pays attention knows what does work: market capitalism.

Socialism failed in Angola, Benin, Cambodia, China, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, North Korea, Poland, Somalia, the Soviet Union, Vietnam and now Venezuela. We are yet to experience the blessed event of seeing one socialist country succeed.

Yet during the same years, capitalism brought prosperity to Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, most of Western Europe, and years ago, to a mostly poor and undeveloped country we now call America.

In 1973, when Chile abandoned its short-lived experiment with socialism and embraced capitalism, Chilean income was 36 percent that of Venezuela. Today, Chileans are 51 percent richer than Venezuelans. Chilean incomes rose by 228 percent. Venezuelans became 21 percent poorer.

Venezuela has greater oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. But because some people believe socialism is the answer to inequality, Venezuelans starve.

What should Venezuela do once the tyrant falls?

It should do what Dubai and Hong Kong did, and what America should do next with Guantanamo Bay and Puerto Rico: create "prosperity zones." I'll explain in my next column.


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  1. I wish Chomsky would run out of other people’s money. Sean Penn and Michael Moore have long since run out of my money, but somehow they find enough idiots to keep blabbering away.

    Why are statists such weenies that don’t want to live in the paradises only they can see?

    1. That is what is so funny about the movie industry taking such a financial hit in recent years. It directly affects many of the lefty movie types and how much money they have.

      The less money they have, the less money they have to give to lefty dipshits like Chomsky.

      1. That is what is so funny about the movie industry taking such a financial hit in recent years. It directly affects many of the lefty movie types and how much money they have.

        It’s not an accident that so many movies are made with an eye to increasing the grosses via distribution in China; they know they couldn’t sustain this type of spending on CGI sperg-fests without it.

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do…

    2. But there is a definite decrease in inequality in Venezuela now. Except for the ruling class, umm… classless.

      1. Yeah, Chavez can fly to Italy, and I’m CERTAIN he did not fly cattle class nor stay in the NoTell Motel when there. How many venezolanos can even think about a night in a local fleabag motel? Nope.. flat busted, most of em.

        Mil gracias, Se?or Ch?vez…..

        1. Chavez’ daughters certainly can fly anywhere. Net worth of 4 billion.

  2. Chomsky is no better than a holocaust denier. His continued popularity bespeaks the Potemkin village that is the ‘intellectual left.’ Imagine conservatives running around bragging about having read all of David Irving’s books.

    1. Linguists, upon mentioning Chomsky, should have to apologize and prostrate themselves, much like philosophers do when mentioning Heidegger.

      1. Except it’s a lot easier to pursue linguistics without making it political. I have a linguistics degree and would you believe his politics never came up in any class? In fact I was completely unaware of them until after college.

        1. It’s easy enough to study Heidegger without getting into his unpleasant politics as well, in my experience.

          1. Shows you what I know about philosophy

          2. Yes, that is exactly my point. Heidegger’s signature works are quite removed from his support for the Nazis, yet that does not matter a whit. The taint is overwhelming.

            Yet for Chomsky (and a litany of out and proud communists) not so much.

            1. “The taint is overwhelming.”

              Maybe give it a washing once in a while.

          3. Now, Carl Schmitt on the other hand…

        2. This seems to be the fundamental problem. His expertise in linguistics is conflated with an expertise in global economic policy. Probably because they both involve the ability to converse about global cultures.

          1. Chomskyan linguistics has nothing to do with global cultures. He has a very parochial approach to linguistics that assumes that one can learn everything worth knowing just from studying English, since he thinks all humans are pre-programmed with a universal grammar. Chomsky is not fluent in any language other than English, although he apparently understands Spanish, French, German and Hebrew to some extent.

        3. You’ll like Petr Beckmann’s “The Structure of Language.”

      2. A boozy beggar, he could drink you under the table.

      3. There are a couple of libertarian translators… awash in a sea of looter glossolalia maybe, but live as electric fences.

      4. Chomsky has also done significant damage to the study of linguistics and set back historical linguistics by a generation. Although ironically Chomskyan ideas about universal grammar and deep structure are unlikely to be popular among the ethnic identity crowd.

    2. Well, Chomsky is part of the revered elite in “education”. We stand little chance of ever getting a handle on these ridiculous ideas until we get government out of education at every level. For once (in my lifetime) we now have a teeny window of opportunity with Trump who seems to embrace “school choice”. We must write, email, tweet, etc. our support for this. Although not a complete solution, it would be a beginning! The left will fight this tooth and nail, and, of course, the feckless weaklings in the GOP will cave, hide, evade, etc., so it is up to WE, “the people” to make this an issue.

  3. I would much rather listen to Nim Chimpsky than silly old senile Noam:

    Nim developed friendships with several of the workers at the Institute of Primate Studies, and learned a few more signs, including a sign named “stone” which indicated that Nim wanted to smoke marijuana.

    1. Noam Chomsky is proof that if you shout something loud enough and long enough, you will always find fools willing to believe you.

      1. Did you mean Joseph Goebbels?

      2. Have you heard the one about Noam Chomsky eating pussy?

  4. Failure is proof it isn’t socialism.

    1. Right. By transubstantiation, a soon as a communist fires a pistol at a politician, he instantly “always was” an anarchist. Take Robert Dear, the Colorado clinic shooter. As soon as that fanatical christian shot the cop, he instantly “wasn’t really” a christian. Its perfectly Orwellian doublethink. If the Party says five fingers, then five fingers it is, always was, and always will be world without end, amen.

      1. Uhm, you flubbed a few of the critical details.
        First, that was not “the Colorado Clinic Shooting” as the lying mainstream press dubbed it. Nope. Started out as a bank robbery gone bad, as he fled down the street he took concealment in a random building.. which HAPPENED to be the local Planned Baby Death “clinic”. He’d have done exactly the same thing had it been a pizza parlor or a Curves clinic.
        Second, he MAY have labelled himself “christian”, but he was not involved with any local gethering of believers, did not LIVE as a christian, nor did he behave like one as he first tried to rob the bank then attempted to kill uninvolved innocents.

        1. Hank likes to turn most things into some kind of dig at the republicans over abortion. Usually through some really obscure reference. Though this one was somewhat more contemporary.

        2. LOL. No true Scotsman Christian, eh? Holy Jesus do you lack self-awareness. Also, your bias is showing.

          1. LOL, in this case, “No true Scotsman” isn’t actually a fallacy, because to be a Christian, you need to be attempting to live certain principles, which the guy involved with the Colorado Clinic Shooting apparently wasn’t doing — and he *certainly* wasn’t acting in the name of a Christian group.

  5. I heard he was a linguist by training, so you’d think he of all people would agree that words have meanings. Then again, I’ve also heard he’s an anarchist, yet he loves statism. Maybe he’s just senile.

    Why is it that people have very bizarre ideas not rooted in facts are usually the ones who speak most loudly and authoritatively on a subject? Chumpsky understands zero economics, yet talks like he does. I know very little about linguistics, and would be the first to admit how little I know. I wouldn’t stride up to him and start lecturing on what linguistics is really all about.

    1. He just knows that all his life-long schemes have not panned out.

      His parents were New Deal progressives and many of those schemes have failed/are failing.

      He was/is a socialist and those schemes have failed/are failing.

      He was against the Vietnam War to protest “American Imperialism” but now supports neo-con interventions.

      He was an avid supporter of Israeli interests over his American birth place.

      People like this hate to be ignored, so just ignore him. He wasted his education on nonsense socialism.

    2. The man is an intellectual academic. His only importance in society stems from our exaggerated reverence for higher education. As Tom Wolfe outlines in THE KINGDOM OF SPEECH, Chomsky’s position in academia is maintained by vicious and unprincipled infighting. Being an outspoken radical leftists is likely an attempt at broadening his ‘brand’, an attempt that has been pretty successful.

      If Socialism is an abject failure, Chomsky will drift back to his natural place in the social order; a minor star in an institution that really is primarily about providing a semi-safe environment for the young of the upper class to learn to drink and mate responsibly. Rather than face that reality, he denies that Socialism could POSSIBLY be wrong. He is liken Edwardian Aristocrat; valiantly defending a social order that has passed and denying that the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the population to middle class status is anything but a disaster.

      Which is pathetic, but still means somebody should use the sonofabitch to decorate a lamp post.

      1. The man is an intellectual academic.

        No, he’s a pseudo-intelletual academic. He lost all claim to being an intellectual when he decided to become a leftard propagandist.


        1. No. And intellectual, strictly speaking, is one who works with his mind, not his hands. As such, Chomsky qualifies. Or one may take the definition of Society, in which case Chomsky is practically the textbook example.

          What he isn’t is a scientist or a scholar.

        2. He’s a real intellectual. He just happens to be wrong about most things.

          1. As a linguist sure. But have you read his political works? There’s nothing academic about them; pure polemic, no attempt to be evidence based. Even Manufacturing Consent was just an interesting hypothesis backed up mainly by a collection of newspaper clippings. Politically, he’s a Sean Hannity, not a John Rawls or Alasdair MacIntyre.

      2. Once Chomsky felt noticed, he thought that it was for his all-knowingness, which only he perceived! He thus became knowledgeable of just about all that is conceivable(this, still in his own mind). Academia bowed down to him and gave him a pen to write and a microphone to speak. He broadcast philosophy and whatever “ology” that his admirers assumed him an expert. Another aspect of leftist education was manufactured:. Thus spake Academia!

    3. I’ve also heard he’s an anarchist, yet he loves statism.

      I don’t know if he still refers to himself as an anarchist. He started dithering on that back in the 90s.

      1. He still calls himself a libertarian socialist. That should be enough.

      2. He’s like many of the left anarchists I’ve met throughout the years. It started with Marx himself. If you use the state to impose your vision of the anarchism, then the state will wither away and you will be left with pure anarchism. Sort of like using a forest fire to burn down the forest, after which there will be no more forest fires.

        1. “If you use the state to impose your vision of the anarchism, then the state will wither away”

          Sure, because political leaders have an inherent aversion to power and they always strive to decrease their own power. When has ANY state ever voluntarily “withered away?”

          The ONLY exception to this political reality is embodied in libertarians. Just like that Internet meme says, we are “secretly planning to take over so we can leave everyone alone.” Although, to be honest, I agree with Lord Acton so I really wouldn’t even trust a libertarian with very much power.

    4. Linguistics is about whatever linguistics professors tell students language speakers say or mean.

      1. Tell us your story friend, do you have any proof besides making a blanket statement like that?

  6. Noam Chomsky will be dead soon and that will be one less socialist spreading their lies to young people.

    On wiki, Noam Chomsky is listed as a Libertarian Socialist.

    There is no such thing and just goes to show that lefties are scared of Libertarianism, so they are going to try and highjack it for leftists purpose if Libertarians are not careful. They already stole the term Liberal from Classic Liberals. Libertarianism and Socialism are diametrically opposite with Libertarianism being for freedom and socialism being for government control of at least the means of production.

    1. I’ve always said that Chomsky is similar to Marx, in that he’s a good observer. As a problem solver, not so much.

      1. Marx was not remotely a good observer. If he was he might have noted that his neighbors, the people he ostensibly was championing, thought him a loon.

        Not that he had any real affection for them either.

        1. Darwin is the archetypical good observer/lousy theorizer.

        2. Marx was not remotely a good observer. If he was he might have noted that his neighbors, the people he ostensibly was championing, thought him a loon.

          Hey. At least he was also an unemployable deadbeat.

          1. Was never able to support himself. Existed as a leech throughout his lifespan.

          2. Marx WAS a socialist, intent upon living off the fruits of OTHER people’s labours. And he managed to hornswoggle enough that he survived passing well.

        3. He also impregnated his live-in maid that he never paid, and upon finding out that she was pregnant, he threw her out on the street. Because you know, workers rights and stuff.

    2. “Libertarian Socialist” is an oxymoron. Without government, who would rob the producers to feed the parasites?


    3. “Libertarian Socialist” huh? He used to be Anarcho Syndiclist. This was basically a system he made up too, so it’s interesting to see him leave the title.

      Also, anarchist is closer as I’ve noticed they often claim to be socialists. How they merge that I do not know.

      Exceot AnCaps obviously.

      1. I would assume they define anarchism as “destroy the current government so we can replace it with one we like better”

        1. Newsflash for them: That’s not anarchism. They need to look up the definition of the word.

          1. They’ll just say you picked the wrong definition. If you find fifty anarchist failures, that will only prove your fifty “weren’t really” communists, that is, anarchists, at all.

  7. So basically Chomsky is relying on that tired line of “yeah that was terrible but it’s not *real* Socialism”

    What a fucking asshole.

    1. I’ve noticed that when wanna be socialists are confronted with failed socialist nations they say it isn’t “true socialism” but instead it is “state capitalism”.

    2. They ALL do that. Hitler “wasn’t really” a socialist OR christian; Stalin “wasn’t really” communist, any more than Kruschev or Lenin. If pressed they fast forward into an uninterruptible stream of incoherent babble. Go ahead… try it.

      1. Hitler wasn’t a real socialist, and you can see that because he had most of those literally fucking murdered one night.

        Bad example.

        1. Maybe he wasn’t, but that’s a logical fallacy.

        2. Well, socialists clearly don’t like competition by their nature. So he had them liquidated.

        3. The thing is, Communists killed fellow Communists all the time, so it’s not nearly the counter-example you think it is.

          Must keep the terror and the purges going, because without fear, you’ll never keep the people in line!

    3. Amusing since what we have now isn’t *real* capitalism, yet it’s their eternal example of ‘actual capitalism’. There’s probably a moral in that somewhere.

  8. The people cited in this article and, sadly, most americans are proof positive that brainwashing is fruitless to fight against. These people will not realize things are bad until they have to riot and violently depose the guy they once loved, like in Venezuela.
    In the case of America, they will riot and burn the rich first then realize that the state was the culprit all along. Of course the real culprit in America is our school system and our universities. That is where the brainwashing has been going on for 90 years.

    Chomsky is just further proof that Marxist simpletons are incapable of critical thought.

  9. Poverty is relative. You can’t make everyone rich, but you can make them equally poor.
    Venezuela’s population are now all the TOP and BOTTOM 100%. It’s called Equality.

    1. I use the line that wealth is relative. A millions dollars might mean the World to you but nothing to a billionaire.

      As you said, you can certainly make people equally poor.

    2. Venezuela’s population are now all the TOP and BOTTOM 100%. It’s called Equality.

      Except it’s not. Do you think Maduro and his family are dealing with food shortages themselves? Do you think they have been unable to buy any toilet paper for some time?

      Apart from his immediate family, do you think his cabinet ministers and their families, or his military officers, or any of the higher-up government functionaries who are members of his party and his supporters — do you think ANY of them are struggling?

      As stupid as it is to achieve “equality” by making everyone equally miserable, that’s not what they do in these places. The ruling elite continue to live very, very well. They make sure of it. That’s the entire point of the systems they impose. It’s the general population that isn’t connected to people in power that get “equalized” to the bottom — even the ones who had been successful professionals.

      It’s all a huge statist lie. Socialism is no different from feudalism, in practice. You’re either a feudal lord (i.e., party official) or you’re a serf. No in-betweens.

  10. Chomsky flees into the standard leftard “no true scotsman” bullshit when faced with the failure of a regime he praised. Fuck him, and fuck the idiots who still think he’s an intellectual.


    1. Actually he is between Stage 3 and Stage 4. You see Stage 3 (Conspiracy Theories and Blame Capitalism) with the money fleeing. All he is missing is blaming the CIA, IMF, World Bank, Illuminati, and Masonic Reptilian Space Aliens from planet Zorlon 5. Then you get his Stage 4(Not real Socialism).

  11. Didn’t you know? I thought Chomsky made it clear: when socialism fails, it’s obviously the fault of capitalism!

  12. Don’t forget about that fake tough guy Sean Penn. Where is his apology?

  13. “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded
    ? here and there, now and then ? are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned,
    and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or
    (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    ?Robert Heinlein

    1. Googling this quote for a source led me to this gem:

      “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.”
      – Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

  14. Whenever I read Chomsky, I like to think of him as a single person echo chamber designed solely to fuel his ego and prove his superiority primarily through self-obfuscation of the fluidity of word definition rampant in his mind.

    1. Whenever I read Chomsky…

      You know there are many much more fun an interesting forms of self abuse.

    2. I like to think of him as a single person echo chamber designed solely to fuel his ego and prove his superiority primarily through self-obfuscation of the fluidity of word definition rampant in his mind.

      The irony, of course, is that Chomsky has become an irrelevant old fool, both scientifically and politically.

  15. In the late 1970s, Chomsky was America’s most prominent apologist for the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Since genocide is not on the Chavez/ Maduro agenda, I suppose recent decades have brought some progress to progressivism.

    1. He also oscillated between denying the Rwandan genocide in the 90s, and acknowledging it and siding with the Hutus doing the genocide has on the basis that the Tutsis were the oppressor class and therefore had it coming. SJW logic taken to its logical conclusion.

      I’ll say it again, this guy deserves no more respect than a holocaust denier.

  16. This is a guy who called Obama “right wing.” I guess to Chomsky, anyone to the right of Trotsky is “right wing.”

  17. Chavez managed to temporarily “reduce poverty” on paper from high oil prices in a country with a ton of oil that provided the money to fund spending that was unsustainable when oil prices inevitably fell. The gradual destruction of the private sector under him and Maduro made it 1000x worse. It’s absurd to blame argue that it’s capitalism’s fault because the Socialists weren’t yet able to nationalize the entire economy even though they were very explicit that socialism was the goal they were moving to and they carried out policy after policy to move towards that goal. And I find it hilarious how socialists demand that they be able to deflect the failed track record of their ideology as “not true socialism” by defining it as “state capitalism” a concept that capitalists would find absurd. The double standard is obvious. Even if you were extremely overly generous and and agreed it was state capitalism, the fact that all of the dozens of attempts to implement socialism resulted in “state capitalism” demonstrates its failure as an ideology.

    1. The only problem with your analysis is that you are attempting to fight it using his words and meanings. A game you could never hope to win.

      What is capitalism? How does capital even have an ethos?

      Capitalism is a nonsense word. Capital is a tool, capitalism has no more meaning than hammerism, or ovenism.

      it’s a Red Queen gambit – it will mean whatever Chomsky says it means. e.g. When the state controls all capital it is ‘state capitalism.’

      Yes, yes ‘conventional meaning’ yadda, yadda.

      So what? In an battle of words the Chomsky’s of the world have privilege. You (and I) do not.

      What Venezuela truly lacks, due to Chavez and Maduro, is any sort of functional markets.

      But what they do have in spades is a ruling class of robber barrons who have grown muy gordo while the rest of the country suffers.

      1. That’s true, but that was kind of my point when I said that even if we accept it is “state capitalism” the fact that attempts to implement socialism result in state capitalism every time indicates something is wrong with socialism.

        I was pointing out the hypocrisy of them insisting on being able to define everything short of their socialist utopia as capitalism, which requires capitalists being unable to do the same for their ideology.

        1. So, Socialism is when the People control the means of production, and State Capitalism is when the State controls it?

          That is only different in the mind of an anarchist. Which I guess was earlier said about Chomsky.

          1. I was not agreeing with the way they define it. I was pointing out that their ideology is a failure even if you accepted their definitions (which I don’t).

  18. This is why equality measures shouldn’t be used as poverty measures.

  19. Chomsky took a long time to acknowledge that the Khmer Rouge were pretty terrible people, so he’s consistent in his inability to see the flaws in Leftist tyrannies.

    1. Absent rooms full of human skulls Chomsky will never admit the failures of Venezuelan socialism.

      1. Even with rooms full of human skulls, there’s still a capitalist running away with his gold.

  20. “In 1973, when Chile abandoned its short-lived experiment with socialism and embraced capitalism, Chilean income was 36 percent that of Venezuela. Today, Chileans are 51 percent richer than Venezuelans. Chilean incomes rose by 228 percent. Venezuelans became 21 percent poorer.”

    God, ignorance runs rampant on both sides. Why doesn’t the author take a very brief look at Chilean history, including, you know, the type of government that’s operating in the country now because “capitalism” ran it into the ground . Hint, it starts with a fucking S. How about all those left-wing “socialist” countries that the United States overthrew during the cold war, capitalism is working just great there, right? That’s why we need “the wall”, because their economies are flourishing? Get outta here, this is ignorant, flag waving crap.

    1. Chile was not run into the ground in 2005 (when Bachelet was first elected) or 2013 for that matter, they had a lot of growth and progress in the previous years. You’re over simplifying the situation based off of the name of Bachelet’s party. The Chilean Socialist Party today is much less radical than Socialist Party of Allende or the Venezuelan regime, there are many left of center parties in Latin America and around the world that are as far left as they are without being called socialist. In fact, in her recent election she was elected on a coalition ticket that included a mix of center-left and left-wing parties, several of which are not socialist even in name.

      You’re also ignoring the fact that the president of Chile isn’t a dictator. They have a bicameral legislature, and the government’s majority is dependent again on alliances with non-socialist parties. The Socialist Party by itself got 11% of the vote in the last legislative elections. If we look at the actual policy implemented, Chile is still near the top of lists of economic freedom (that rank free market countries high and socialist countries low) though they have fallen a few places. You’re making a false equivalence to Venezuela based solely off of the party name of the incumbent president.

      Who, by the way, currently has approval ratings just barely over 20%. Very shortly, Chile won’t have a socialist president even in name.

    2. A country being capitalist in a broad sense isn’t sufficient for prosperity. It needs to be a (relatively) free and fair system where markets are allowed to function properly. A lot of countries do have problems with this. The difference is that there are also many examples of capitalism being successful, while there aren’t any for socialism. The fact that not every capitalist country is free and prosperous doesn’t negate the fact that every free and prosperous society has been capitalist while every socialist country has been authoritarian and poor.

      1. Fair enough, great explanation. Don’t expect that kinda stuff on the internet these days. That being said, socialism can mean whatever you want it to mean, if you’re on the right on the left-right spectrum, as capitalism can mean whatever you want if you’re on the left. There’s always these false equivalencies to try to promote an ideology, hence why i called this article flag-waving (cause it is, read it again if you think i’m exaggerating). Chomsky is wrong about Venezuela, i concur. But in general, why have socialist governments failed historically? Latin America, in particular? American imperialism and intervention, it’s an indisputable fact. These socialist experiences never get a chance to take off because the US is there to overthrow the government on Day #2. There’s obviously a few bones to pick with communism, socialism’s angry brother, but to correlate socialism with failure, and use any country in Latin America as an example is complete bull shit.

        1. we overthrew Venezuela?

        2. I think it certainly is disputable. US action doesn’t take away all agency from Latin American actors. To take the example of Chile, Allende’s failures leading up to the coup cannot be solely blamed on the US. There was always a large bloc of Chileans opposed to him, he came to power with a plurality of the vote and an alliance with a centrist party that ultimately abandoned him and formed an alliance with the right that soundly beat the Socialist bloc at the next parliamentary elections.

          How is the US responsible for Venezuela? Did the US make Castro establish a dictatorship in Cuba? What about all the other countries?

          And it’s not like the USSR wasn’t supporting regimes and movements around the world. People act like the US was the only country doing that stuff in the Cold War.

          1. Only westerners have agency in the privilege hierarchy, remember?

          2. Cali,
            One of the points that are often not taken from these argument is that there is free market capitalism and then there is everything else.

            We all know that not even the united states practices free market capitalism because of all of our protectionism, trade barriers, cronyism, etc… That said, the discussion needs to be upheld that the quest for such is the only and best hope for humanity,.
            Any form of managed economy, government collusion, or regulated capitalism is a recipe for corruption, abuse, and ultimate failure because anything other than free market capitalism ultimately deteriorates into a form of crony fascism, then socialism, and hopefully not communism.

            1. I take your points. At the same time, I didn’t want to go too far down that road because it’s extremely difficult to impossible to implement and maintain a totally 100% free market economy and eventually it can begin to sound like the “No True Socialism!” cries of socialists. In practice, it’s at most an ideal to be strived for, but I think it’s important to point out that systems with relatively free and capitalist economies can still be successful even if they aren’t pure free market capitalism whereas it seems that socialist systems have to reach the hypothetical and unachievable ideal of True Socialism to not be authoritarian and economically stagnant or regressive.

        3. 130 million corpses and a billion people living under a police state make more than “a few bones to pick”.

        4. Horse shit. On many fronts.

          Capitalism means government not interfering production; socialism means government controlling production. The words don’t just ‘mean whatever you want them to mean, man.’

          Secondly, all of Latin America and East Asia were under colonial rule, not all are equally destitute now however. When a country does much worse than its other post-colonial neighbors, you don’t get to blame it on colonialism. Sorry, socialism fails because if socialism.

          1. It’s not reasonable to lay so much evil at colonialism’s feet in the first place, case studies in neighboring countries or not. What was the GNP or GDP of the Amazonian basin prior to evil colonizers? What were the living standards like for the cannibals in the rainforest? What was the prevailing Aztec view on property rights and free association before the Spaniards came? People (not you necessarily) act like these were wonderful places before colonization. Even relatively civilized places like India gained immensely from modern sanitation, medicine, farming techniques and telecommunications.

            With very few exceptions, almost every territory that was colonized by Europeans was immensely better off in the long term and often the short term too, than they were before.

            1. true dat

            2. True, except for the bit about how the Indian nation “gained immensely from modern sanitation”, which they apparently have not actually adopted.

            3. It is hard to make a reasonable case tha the indigenous peoples of the Americas benefitted from colonization since most of them either died from disease (the majority), were enslaved and made to work in Mexican silver mines, became peons on massive latifundias, or had their land taken from them and now live in poverty on reservations.

              The territory may be better off, but at the expense of the original inhabitants.

  21. “Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital.”

    Kulaks! Hoarders! Wreckers!

    Fuck. If these guys are such intellectual giants can’t they at least come up with some new bullshit?

  22. Chomsky has essentially admitted that Capitalism and Capitalists are an essential part of socialism. That without them, socialism fails.

    1. Not really. All Chomsky has acknowledged is that there is capital, and it can be controlled by the state in a manner that he does not deem to be ‘socialism.’

      Otherwise it’s a hermeneutic shell game, where capitalism effectively boils down to “not socialism.” Meaning that any and every problem, in the absence of ‘real’ socialism can be blamed upon ‘capitalism.’

      The word was coined by Marx, unless you are a (philosophical, if not economic/political) Marxist there is no valid reason to be using the term.

      1. I think our definition of capitalism is a bit more rigid.

        1. Ok. But since when do Chomsky, his adherents, or his supporters (explicit or otherwise) accept anything of ours?

          Employing the term capitalism is accepting a battleground of their choosing. I’m simply suggesting we engage the statists elsewhere.

      2. If capital can be controlled by the state, then capitalists leaving with capital would be irrelevant. But Chomsky has admitted that Socialism has or was failing to keep control of the capital, therefore requiring the capitalists (and their capital) to remain in situ.

        1. Possibly, but that’s not how I’m reading him. His problem with capitalists fleeing the country is their leaving with the capital. Because, if they leave without it, then I doubt Chomsky (or anyone else) would be calling them ‘capitalists.’

          1. But, do note that – implicit within Chomsky’s vision – at least some of the ‘capital’ they could be fleeing with might include things essential to their nature – ie. education, skills, knowledge, etc.

          2. The only thing they could “flee” with is paper money and electrons. They had to leave the oil and farms behind.

            If the socialist government can’t feed the people, then this seems an indictment of the ability of government bureaucrats to centrally organize an economy.

            I would argue that it doesn’t matter how skilled or educated the emigrants were. You could have put them in charge of the socialist enterprise and gotten the same results. The fundamental flaw is that the government wouldn’t leave them alone to fill market needs as they saw fit.

        2. I know many people who left Venezuela because they saw it was rapidly going to shit. While these people are all educated professionals, they hardly “took capital with them.”

          In some cases, they are unable to practice their previous professions without completely re-doing all their professional education. If you were a dentist over there, for example, you might be working in a store now. But they still made the calculation that it’s better to get out.

          And say they had managed to move money out when they left. So what? Do you know what that money is worth now when it’s exchanged?

          There may in fact be some small number of rich people who had money stashed overseas and had the foresight to convert their Bolivars to dollars or whatever BEFORE the economy cratered, but they’re not the majority of emigrants.

          Usually, the people at the very top are same ones who are politically well-connected anyway. It’s more the middle and upper-middle classes who either get crushed or who pack up and leave with basically the clothes on the backs.

        3. The biggest thing Chomsky misses as do most socialists is that there is more then one type of Capital. A huge loss is the human capital. When Chavez started his great revolution against the “evil colonialist foreign” oil companies and took over their facilities the knowledge to run those facilities left for greener pastures. What was left were inexperienced cronies who couldn’t run the show. This was repeated every time he took over an industry. But this isn’t something new. When Mugabe took over all the farmland in Zimbabwe and turned it over to people his country went from an exporter of food to needing to import food to feed his people. Why cause the “evil white colonialists” he expelled took the farming knowledge base with them.

  23. Chavez did “incredible things for the 80 percent of the people that are very poor.”

    Made them 90 percent? Socialists love poor people. That’s why they make so many.

    1. “…80 percent of the people that are very poor.”

      The problem with that is, at least in modern times, there never was an 80 percent poverty level in Venezuela.

      Chomsky et. al. might like to pretend that the country, prior to Chavez, was divided between 20% very wealthy and 80% dirt poor, but that was not the case. Venezuela used to have a large middle class. There were lots of educated professionals who were far from poor and desperate but also not millionaires.

      The whole point of a free economy is that it allows for upward (and downward) movement. Chavez was elected (including by educated middle class people that should have known better) — and he changed that. Then he made sure to designate a handpicked successor that is even worse and economically clueless than Chavez had been.

      And now voting out the bastards is no longer an option, despite there being an increasingly small percentage of the public that actually supports the government.

  24. RE: Noam Chomsky’s Venezuela Lesson
    Venezuela descends into chaos as Chomsky says he’s right about Hugo Chavez’s sharp poverty reduction.

    1. Chomsky is worth about $2 million. So how would he know anything about poverty, and don’t even get me started how he started a trust fund for his daughter.
    2. Oliver Stone is worth $50 million. I wonder how many millions he gave the people of Venezuela so they didn’t end up in poverty.
    3. Sean Penn is worth about $150 million. Be rest assured he gave the Venezuela people millions after he kissed Chavez’ ass.
    4. Michael Moore is worth about $50 million. One can only speculate how many tens of millions of dollars he gave out of his own bank account to the Venezuela people out his own pocket, right after he signed up for all the wonderful healthcare benefits Cuba offered him.
    Everybody in Venezuela is healthy, well fed and have wonderful jobs. The useful idiots I mentioned above would agree with that.

    1. A “useful idiot” is someone who is against you or your ideology, but can be convinced to be in favor of it. The people you list above ARE socialists. A better example of a useful idiot would be someone who claims to be anti-socialist, yet would be against repealing the Social Security Act or Medicare (which are the government socialist programs that will bankrupt this country once all the baby boomers are retired).

      Roughly 99% of America’s “conservative right” falls into the useful idiot category.

  25. What should Venezuela do once the tyrant falls?

    the punishment phase

  26. Noam Chomsky: The world’s dumbest genius. Yes he’s a genius. In incredibly smart man in his field. But outside his field he’s dumber than a bag of rocks.

    1. But he believes stuff so dumb, only an intellectual could believe it.

    2. That’s his problem.
      Chomsky got his doctorate in linguistics not history, political science or international relations.
      He knows absolutely nothing about the above three subjects, and yet he prattles on about how wonderful socialism is and how terrible capitalism is. The sad part is every time he opens his mouth, he makes an ass of himself and doesn’t realize.
      However, he does provide excellent comic relief.

      1. As if studying political science or international relations would improve the quality of his opinions. For what it’s worth, I took poli sci on a pre-law track, and every other class I took was teaching Chomsky’s political musings and from time to time I was even forced to buy one of his awful books on politics. I still keep a copy of Failed States on my shelf at home and I show it off like a solider showing off his battle scars. Evidence of the bullshit indoctrination I overcame.

        1. Which sort of begs the question of what a poli-sci class would be doing when it teaches material from a linguist in the first place…

          As another example, they don’t make you read a book authored by someone with no experience in mathematics for a physics degree.

          it might be apples to oranges, but is Chompy really considered be some kind of brilliant political scientist? If so, it really illustrates that it’s a field devoid of purpose or reason to exist.

    3. The thing is, he’s actually not. Much of his work has apparently been discredited and his field realizes he’s led them down the wrong path for the last 50 years.

    4. Yes he’s a genius. In incredibly smart man in his field.

      I think his linguistic theories are about like his political theories: grandiose and mostly worthless.

  27. I think the final, “winning” argument that the Chavismo-supporting left can pull, and perhaps this is what Chomsky is getting at, is that socialist economies are wrecked, or fail, or fail to even become socialist economies, because it can’t work in one country alone. Venezuela has tons of oil, the global price for oil falls. Well, that isn’t Venezuela’s fault! Venezuela needs to sell oil on the global market to purchase necessary goods like food and medicine on the global market. So obviously, markets are the problem. Until all the other resource-rich nations implement state controlled economies and trade on that basis with everyone else, like Venezuela, socialism in one country can’t succeed. Price controls in Venezuela can’t succeed, if they must still purchase goods globally at market prices.

    Honestly, the only way to even begin to make this work is through world government (and massive amounts of force). So, nowhere to flee and human enslavement.

    1. “…the only way to even begin to make this work is through world government (and massive amounts of force).”

      It STILL wouldn’t work. With a world government making sure everyone gets an equally shitty outcome regardless of their individual drive or talent, how many people would still display that drive or talent?

      Human nature is what it is. Even kids get that instinctively. If a kid studies for a test in school, get all every answer right, and still get a D, just like the other kid who mostly goofs off and never studied anything, do you think the kid is going to bother studying for the next test?

      Sure, there might be some who will pursue certain goals regardless, because they are passionate about what they are doing. I doubt many people who become good musicians only practice because they think they will become wealthy rock stars. But for MOST people, in MOST jobs, they make an effort because they feel like they have to if they want to improve their situation for them or their families. If the government makes it clear no amount of effort will result in improvement, they will quit trying too hard.

      There’s a reason that a very popular joke in the twilight days of the Soviet Union was, “We mostly just pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

      1. When I say work, I don’t mean that it will result in actual human progress of the kind produced with free markets. Maybe it was a bad choice of word. When I say world government would be needed for socialism to work, what I mean is that it would be needed for socialism to actually exist and endure, for a time at least. It would work for no one except for the ones that get to decide who lives, dies, or gets sent to prison.

        Sometimes, I hope the most leftist lefties get their way, and we go that route, just so I can see it devolve into absurdity and brutality.

  28. Noam Chomsky’s Venezuela Lesson

    Before I even read it let me see if I can guess: “They weren’t doing socialism right… the wrong Top Man was in charge… next time we’ll get ir right…”

    1. Chomsky replied, “I never described Chavez’s state capitalist government as ‘socialist’ or even hinted at such an absurdity. It was quite remote from socialism. Private capitalism remained … Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital.”

      Looks like I called it on point number 1 (They weren’t doing socialism right), with an extra dose of “blame it all on the wreckers, kulaks, and saboteurs.

      1. they just needed to take over a few more industries. I mean they had energy, healthcare, and food all nationalized. they’ve taken over bread factories and farms. most shops at this point.

        what the fuck is left?

        1. Burying the dead

      2. No True Socialism

    2. Mexican Marxians would argue that Stalin was actually a capitalist because only capitalists kill people…

      I wish I was kidding. Obviously, Chomsky is much more circumspect than these Mexican Marxians but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe the same things as they do.

  29. I’ve found that these “See, socialism doesn’t work because of ” fall on deaf ears in the progressive arena because many of them will acknowledge that some free market is necessary (they’ll use the term, “mixed economy”), but they’re always convinced that we have too much free market and that the current welfare state needs to be expanded.

    1. That’s the beauty of a “mixed market”. The politicians that support it can always point to the capitalist side of this supposed “mixture” and like an auto mechanic fleecing a little old lady they say “Yep that’s your problem right there.”

      1. Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever. Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon and yet they will always survive.

    2. They just think the right mixture is 90% socialism 10% market.

      1. They don’t understand the smallest facet of it.

        They have no idea the difference between utter failings of collectivism and the marvels of market capitalism, technology and cheap energy. Can you imagine if these dipshit bolsheviks got their way and outlawed oil?

        Almost every modern convenience would be impacted negatively.

        No roads, not plastic, no sewer pipes, queer bicycle helmets, the rubber bands for their faggy man buns would cost $30 each, on and on.

    3. Every prog I’ve ever talked to about Venezuela has blamed the US for undermining them. Something along these lines. It’s like talking to a fish.…..rt/218335/

      1. It’s amazing to me that anyone can fall for this garbage.

      2. I’m not a progressive, but that doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. There’s absolutely no question that the CIA has been waging a covert economic war against Venezuela for twenty years. A quick google search should come up with a source that you trust. There are TWO reasons that Venezuela is in the mess it’s in, and one of them has nothing to do with socialism.

        1. “And it would have worked too if not for those meddling Americans!”

  30. You will also notice that there are no morons commenting on the articles when the end result of socialism is in full display.

    Where are tony, and palin, and trueman, and Michael hihn, and Trudy.

  31. There’s no lesson here. The only possible lesson is “Noam Chomsky will never learn a gorram thing”, and everybody with any sense figured that out a couple of decades ago. Chomsky may be a brilliant linguist (not too sure about that, but I’m not enough of an expert to know), but that just proves that knowledge isn’t fungible. Albert Einstein was a great physicist, but he was absolutely the dog’s breakfast as an economist.

  32. See? It’s like showing a conservative the religious passages in the Nazi Platform, Mein Kampf and the Enabling Act speech to the Reichstag. If you show a communist all the altruistic Nazi exhortations to government ed, medicare, bread and jobs, the reaction is a condescending sneer. Everywhere are religious conservative websites hotly denying that Hitler or any of the huge majorities that elected and reelected his party were even remotely Christian. No fewer in number are the communist orator websites swearing that National Socialists “weren’t really” socialists. To any looter of enlightened perspicacity, those were all marketing hoaxes. There clearly is no reasoning with mystics.

  33. In which Chomsky self-identifies as a raving fool.

  34. “Michael Moore praised Chavez for eliminating “75 percent of extreme poverty.””

    Yep, now it’s 100%, so no body’s any poorer than anyone else.

  35. Don’t forget India. India was a socialist country when they were cozying up to the Soviet Union.

  36. Chomsky is, and supported in Venezuela’s “state capitalist government” – Fascism!

  37. Mr Stossel:
    When you refer to a “socialist” country, what do you mean?
    Do you consider Sweden and Finland to be socialist countries?

    1. Sweden and Finland have market economies they tax heavily, not to mention they’ve had to make free market reforms to sustain their economies because again socialism doesn’t work but you’ll never get that.

      1. Sweden has disproportionately many large companies you’ve all heard of (Ericsson, Electrolux, Volvo, IKEA et cetera). But no company has grown large in Sweden since the 1950s when tax rates and bureaucracy were multiplied. Today startups with a future are sold internationally before they even start making a profit or hiring people in Sweden. “Swedish” companies are Swedish in name only today, they are globalized and pay no taxes in Sweden. The exception is service companies that need to have people here to deliver.

        Since the government takes the most of everyone’s money, government also dominate most industries as a customer. Not only things like banking and healthcare, but the government’s own staff restaurants are far bigger than McDonalds. They are the biggest buyer of computers, furniture, taxi and on and on. It is very hard to compete in most industries if you don’t have good friends in the public sector that buys from you. Since they don’t care at all about what the price or quality is, the government is a very profitable customer. This makes most of the economy producing worthless garbage and junk. Taxes hurt not only by being taken away from the productive parts of society. Taxes hurt the economy again when they are recklessly spent.

    2. To describe economic systems, we should use economic terms, not party labels.

      Plenty of ownership and control of the means of production in western democracies, (in the US, government education), but generally the “social welfare” aspect is implemented through welfare state redistribution rather than government ownership and control of enterprises.

      Human ranchers have generally found it more profitable to tax free range human cattle than to actually herd the cattle themselves.

  38. I look forward to his next column about putting ‘Prosperity Zones” in GITMO and PR.

  39. Stossel states that European countries are capitalistic, when in reality they are mixed economies. But then most countries, particularly the wealthier ones, are not entirely capitalistic or entirely socialistic.

  40. Yuo left out one GREAT example of a socialism experiment:
    when the Pilgrims first set foot in North America and began what they called Plymouth Plantation, they held all the land, tool,s etc, in common, each family or individual to work as they saw fit, and expect to eat as they willed from the produce of the collective efforts.
    Funny thing happened on the way to the (empty) larder…. they nearly starved to death that first full winter, and would have but for the mercy and generosity and prosperity of the local Indians who pitied them and gave them to eat.. then showed them how to manage their parcels, etc.

    As the next spring approached, they began to discuss the results of their “experiment” which had been found seriously wanting, and what to do about it. As they searched the Scriptures they realised God’s plan is NOT socialism. SO, they divided the land amongst themselves in accord with the numbers of people per household, each family to have THEIR OWN marked and identifiable parcel. Further, each family were to work their land as THEY saw fit, and would ONLY get what THEY produced. Their socialism experiment had lasted one season, and was had onto the dustheap of history. From that year onward their abundance and prosperity were legend throughout the whole of the New World…… where socialism utterly failed and nearly terminated the entire colony, capitalism brought great prosperity.

    1. Would you consider the Native American economic system based on market principles? I thought it was a simplistic form of socialism, but maybe not, since they saved the pilgrims? Or perhaps it is different for them since they did not read the Scriptures?

      Was Jesus a capitalist?

      1. Lol its funny how this is an opinion article and you can’t see the counter opinions about the article unless you click on them. Would that be a form of censorship?

  41. Nicely written, might even change some minds. Hopefully.

  42. Re: “Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital.”

    “Capitalists were FREE to…”

    So, Chomsky lets slip his belief that capitalists should be forcibly enslaved to work for the country and that socialist countries should build walls to keep capitalists from fleeing their enslavement.

  43. Stossel mendaciously slurs over something very telling. He mentions Chile “embracing” capitalism in 1973. That’s a rather peculiar euphemism for what actually happened. The democratically elected Salvador Allende was overthrown in a CIA backed coup at the behest of American corporations such as ITT. The wonderful free market capitalism that followed was a decade of military dictatorship by Augusto Pinochet, the Santiago stadium was turned into an open air torture chamber, and the “Chicago Boys” such as Milton Friedman came in with their privatization schemes and ruined the economy. Progress has been made in Chile AFTER Pinochet’so ouster. Modern Libertarianism used Pinochet’s military dictatorship as it’s test lab, its incubator.

    Stossel doesn’t permit Chomsky to speak about Venezuela much, preferring to dismiss him some celebrity dingbat. Chomsky speaks in detail about Venezuela, Brazil etc in a recent interview with Amy Goodman. In it he says corruption has been a major problem, also that Venezuela in particular relied far too heavily on one commodity. Chomsky as usual has some good insights, and is not the out of touch ivory tower crack pot Stossel tries the tar him as.

    Frankly I expect better from Reason. I’ve seen Nick Gillespie interview Ralph Nader, and it was mutually respectful, very insightful exchange of two very intelligent people.

    1. Chomsky isn’t qualified to determine the cause of economic problems…he is not an economist and doesn’t have any business experience. Of course that didn’t stop him from making millions which he set aside in a trust, despite previously referring to trusts as tools of the rich that shouldn’t be permitted.

      1. I don’t think John Stossel is qualified to make the judgements he has against Chomsky. This column was very dishonest. This lie of omission, leaving out the CIA coup and Pinochet’s bloody rule undermines not only this particular column, but erodes the argument that libertarian capitalism and free markets go hand in hand with freedom and democracy.

        Stossel seems to be little better than that lying imbecile Sean Hannity. It’s a shame because Reason has quality writers, intelligent and honest people. This was a complete hatchet job. I assume Stossel emailed Chomsky; he deigned to show very little of Chomsky’s response in order to make him look like a flailing desperado. Why not just clearly show both sides of this argument? It’s important, and Venezuela clearly has major problems. Chomsky has a very cogent analysis for anyone who cares to listen. All Stossel has is this tired and dishonest right wing boilerplate.

        I usually don’t agree with Libertarians on economics, but over the years I’ve found most of them knowledgeable, up for a spirited debate and civil good sports. I admire most I’ve engaged. Stossel is a lying dirt bag though.

    2. “Modern Libertarianism used Pinochet’s military dictatorship as it’s test lab, its incubator.”

      Glad you got that off your chest are you?
      Fuck off, slaver

      1. So in other words, you got nothing. When you immediately descend to personal insults, that a pretty good sign you’ve lost the argument. Every word I wrote is true. It’s just a lot more fun to get on your high horse, get whipped into a self righteous frenzy over the failures of an economic system you don’t like. It’s impertinent for some Chomsky reader to point out the atrocities committed to force University of Chicago economics through torture, murder and despotism in Chile. Capitalism has no problem working with bloody tyrants, never has.

        Capitalism is wage slavery, fuck yourself.

  44. I have socialist leanings myself, for full disclosure.

    When ever speaking of socialism, definition of the term should always be used, specially when speaking of countries such as Angola and Congo, in which socialism was just a noun used for political systems that were tribal in nature, and used for proxy wars.

    Every one has an has the right to their opinion, but to discount outside influences, in general, and to omit direct foreign involvement, such as the US orchestration of at least 1 failed coup in Venezuela, in which they have admitted to, and 3 others claimed by Chavez, to actively work to undermine it, is naive in the least, and it makes me question the ethics of the author.

    But all of that aside, this:
    “In 1973, when Chile abandoned its short-lived experiment with socialism and embraced capitalism” is a lie. The elected government, was removed by South America’s worst dictator, leading to a truly horrific and dark time in Chile. Capitalism was forced unto the people, and the economy turned to the worse until the 90s. Want to say it went from socialism to a market economy in which eventually produced great results. To claim it was “embraced” is a slap in the face of the tens of thousands that were killed and the tens of thousands that were tortured without due process.

    1. There is a bit of “Top Men” reverence in referring to Pinochet’s dictates as an “embrace”.

      But all the real libertarians have been run off Reason by the partisan “conservative” idiots who now infest the commentariat (basically everyone who’s been commenting in this thread, as it happens, and incidentally contributing no worthwhile analysis or even thought), so who cares anyway.

      1. Dalmia and Chapman are “partisan “conservative” idiots”???

    2. But all of that aside, this:
      “In 1973, when Chile abandoned its short-lived experiment with socialism and embraced capitalism” is a lie. The elected government, was removed by South America’s worst dictator, leading to a truly horrific and dark time in Chile. Capitalism was forced unto the people, and the economy turned to the worse until the 90s. Want to say it went from socialism to a market economy in which eventually produced great results. To claim it was “embraced” is a slap in the face of the tens of thousands that were killed and the tens of thousands that were tortured without due process.”

      Perhaps that’s true, although I’m betting you’ll have a hard time finding reliable cites for “tens of thousands”.
      But would you care to comment on the more than 100 million that the commies murdered in the last century?

    3. More:
      “(b) After Pinochet’s retirement (1990), a democratically-elected Center-Left government set up the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (also known as the Rettig Commission) to investigate deaths during the Pinochet years. In 1992, the “National Corporation for Reconciliation and Reparation” was established to complete the work. Their final report (1996) blamed Pinochet for 2,095 confirmed deaths and 1,102 suspicious “disappearances,” for a total of 3,197.”

      Hmm, lying socialist? Why am I not surprised?

      1. Well, I am glad to see how you left out the rest of the paragraph, and decided to look for just the death numbers.

        Interesting how it works: We know Stalin killed millions, but we do not have a way to know how many exactly, but we all accept 20 million as rough number. Pinochet killed at an alarming rate, to the point that several citizens from other nations tried to spotlight the issue….Even the US State department in 1974 thought it was 10800 people. You want to count bodies 40 years after the fact.

        You took offense, and set out to prove me a liar. I will dispute your source, and the current government of Chile on the death numbers, and your own source validated the statement on the tortured. Now I ask, why defend Pinochet? Do you have any idea how corrupt he was? His entire regime? Lets say I lied, and that you are correct, is 3197 dead a good number? 27255 (I will dispute these numbers as well) tortured a good number?

        Why defend the portion of the article that clearly lied when it said “Chile abandoned its short-lived experiment with socialism and embraced capitalism”?

      2. Are you saying that you would have no problem with your wife and children being tortured, gang-raped and murdered by a dictator, as long as the dictator didn’t own the means of production?

        1. Not if they were active communists who threatened the entire population with permanent mass starvation and thousands of murders every month, like in Venezuela. A civilization cannot exist without protecting itself against the ruthless violence of the communists. And during the cold war the communists threat with total nuclear annihilation to further their aggressive imperialist world revolution was also at stake.

  45. I never got why Chomsky was a huge hit among so called “intellectuals” he’s a intellectual light weight and a idiot, the people who follow and quote from him prove that point. Chomsky and his cult like followers just regurgitate a bunch of his nonsense that has no grounding in reality at all, perfect for snowflakes.

  46. Venezuela was not a ‘poor’ country, before Chavez. It was the jewel of South America with the BEST economy and natural resources. It stands testimony to the pure evil of socialism.

  47. Chomsky is, and always has been, an utter idiot.

    1. Are you gonna back up that blanket statement with some proof?

  48. Chomsky is a horrible individual; a tick surrounded by other ticks who feed off our taxes and dispense absolute nonsense cloaked as education.

    For once (in my life) we have an opportunity to make a dent in the armor of the educational institutions created by Progressives. Our president actually has come out for “school choice”, which will not undo the disgusting mess of education in the US, but it might at least BEGIN the process of getting the state out of the education business and returning it to we citizens, where it belongs.

    One of the first acts Obama performed once he took office, was to dismantle the successful school choice system for kids in Washington, who just happened to be black, btw. This should give us a clue as to how important the top-down state-controlled indoctrination system is to these jerks.

    1. I live in Alpharetta, Georgia, I’m white, I come from an upper-middle-class family and I am currently in college, I work 2 jobs because the first one I was working didn’t give me enough hours. I currently don’t have enough money to buy a new smartphone or fix my car which is leaking transmission fluid. Does anyone have some advice for me?

    2. Sounds good, but “conservatives” won’t allow it. Here are the seven biggest accomplishments of the Progressive Movement. They are supported 100% by America’s “conservatives.”

      1) Social Security
      2) Medicare
      3) The income tax
      4) Drug laws (most “conservatives” refuse to even believe that they are, by definition, big-government, nanny state Progressivism, but have no idea why the country had no drug laws for the first 140-or-so years of its existence)
      5) The National Security Act of 1947 (gave us the CIA, NSA and DOD. Truman later regretted signing it and warned America to repeal it: “…one Pentagon is one too many.”)
      6) The global military empire
      7) The idea that the “interstate commerce” clause gives the feds the authority to outlaw things (its purpose was to DEFEND property rights, not VIOLATE them)

      Good luck convincing the right to end DARE classes in our public schools, much less getting schools to teach kids that Social Security and Medicare are “evil socialism”).

      1. Yes, Art, because you surveyed “100%” of conservatives.

  49. I’m sad to read this story. Noam Chomsky is one of the most fraudulent ‘historians’ in US history, but he was a respected, but also controversial, linguist. His work in HIS field is not universally accepted. Such is the norm in academia, and I can offer no useful critique, positive or negative, in this area.
    In terms of history and current affairs, Noam Chomsky is somebody who has been in desperate need for a psychoanalyst. The Khmer Rouge massacre actually did happen, and communism was a scourge that needed to be defeated. I hope he still doesn’t have a fan base in this regard. On the other hand, if Trump is the remedy for Chomshyism, we’re all in big trouble.

  50. Actually Chomsky recently released an interview where he criticize the late development of socialism in America Latina. The world is complex and full of nuances. Try harder guys. I’m sick to think like a football team supporter.

  51. While socialism always fails, and this isn’t meant to defend it or Chavez, surely Mr. Stossel is aware of the twenty-year covert war against the Venezuelan economy run by the CIA.

    1. Really? Can you tell us more about it?
      I now that Venezuela is making economic war against the US and other Western countries by steeling its industries and investments in Venezuela. How does it go the other way around?

  52. Who has caused more human suffering worldwide?

    ‘A) Global-manmade-“climate-change” deniers, or

    ‘B) Global-failure-of-socialism deniers?

  53. “useful idiots”

    There is no record of Lenin ever employing that expression in writing or speech.

  54. At some point in time, we need to stop treating people like Chomsky as dim-witted, curiosities, and start treating them as literally the enemy within.

    The left gets away with all their antics, and conservatives, libertarians, anti-leftists sit around bringing their knives to the gunfight.

    Hannity is right in that it’s time to go on the offensive against these clowns.

    1. At some point, some of you guys will have to notice how “conservatives, libertarians, anti-leftists” have been in charge more often than not since Carter, and things do not get “done” for a myriad of reason, including sheer incompetence. Hannity and most of the talk show hosts are just doing what they need to do to get ratings, I would not give them much credence, after all, this is a very weak congress and weaker POTUS.

      What most fail to understand, is how these countries get to that point. They all have a history of dictatorship or similar governments with wealth being distributed at the top by those in charge. Socialism has the ultimate appeal in that scenario in which it promises the redistribution of wealth, most often in the form of land, to the masses.

      The other issue here is how broad the term socialism is, specially in that article. In general, this type or article is counter productive, because often what makes a country “socialist” is the perception. Angola was never socialist, everything was done at the tribal level, but because they identified themselves as communists with centralized control because there was no middle/upper class in existence to fill the void of the harsh Portuguese government, it was dubbed a socialist country.

  55. Still, socialism is very popular to voters. Sanders in the US, Corbyn in the UK (now catching up with Theresa May in the polls) are both classical Soviet communists. And isn’t Chile, today’s richest country in South America, turning sharp left fast, because they want to themselves experience the same things that Venezuela has?

    I think you can add Uruguay to the list of countries where socialism failed hard. In the mid 1900s it was as rich as any western country. But in the 1960s and 1970s socialism turned it into a third world country, all fairly and democratically elected. It was the deliberate will of the majority to make themselves much poorer. And listen to any Green party and they outright say that they will make everyone poorer. There’s really a very sharp distinction between English and Spanish speakers in America. Collectively as voters they have very different world views. Although that is not apparent when talking to them individually, all available history reveals it.

  56. Maybe socialism omly works for white people??
    The economy of Norway is a developed mixed economy with state-ownership in strategic areas.

    the public sector is among the largest in the world as a percentage of the overall gross domestic product. The country has a very high standard of living compared with other European countries, and a strongly integrated welfare system. Norway’s modern manufacturing and welfare system rely on a financial reserve produced by exploitation of natural resources, particularly North Sea oil.[14][15][16][17][18]

    The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminum production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DNB) and telecommunication provider (Telenor). The government controls 31.6% of publicly listed companies. When non-listed companies are included the state has an even higher share in ownership (mainly from direct oil license ownership).

  57. Chomsky pretends that Venezuela is not a socialist country. Perhaps that’s because he well understands that Nazi is the abbreviation for National Socialism. The Nazi party’s full name is NAtional soZIalistische deutsche arbeiter partei – which literally translates from German as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

    But Nicolas Maduro’s party has the same strong gun control agenda, the same strong social programs, the same government control of education, the same government control of the economy, and the same emphasis on government jobs and worker’s rights as modern socialists. This is what makes a Socialist party – and the Nazi party – socialist, it’s their programs…

    Yet although Chomsky doesn’t like seeing the truth, he’s actually promoting Nazi programs and so he is himself a Nazi.

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